Category Archives: search engine optimization

Don't Wait for SEO..

In today’s marketplace, businesses large and small cannot wait before they concentrate on their SEO program. Search engine optimization is one of those things that if you are starting it up now you might be a bit late to the party, but at least you got there. It is important to really get started as soon as possible and get things going with your SEO efforts because each day a business waits to get active in the search engines is another day your competition might be really ramping up their search engine marketing efforts slowly stealing away valuable visitors away from your business.

Here are some pitfalls in waiting on building a solid SEO program:

1. Time: SEO is a very time intensive marketing effort that really requires patience, so the longer a business waits with their website the longer it takes to really see results. SEO is a lot like planting a seed and watching it grow. If you want to see results from your efforts they are not going to happen over night. There are cost effective ways to get things started if you are on a budget so at the very least it is important to get the ball rolling. Many businesses are under the impression that search engine optimization works immediately or soon thereafter and this couldn’t be further from the truth.

2. Loss of Sales: Ignoring search engine optimization efforts for your business or website will result in a direct loss of potential sales. I don’t care what your business is, if you are trying to promote yourself online and you have some sort of business to offer whether online or through a brick & mortar you will benefit from SEO. A loss of website visitors is a loss of potential sales in my book. The opportunity costs of not getting active in the search engines for some businesses could be very high and almost painful to discuss.

3. More Competition: All it takes is another few websites to pop up in the search engines and start promoting themselves through a variety of search engine marketing efforts and you might really get buried in the search results. Not to mention your potential customers that could be lost to this newly found competition. More and more people in today’s marketplace are really starting to head online for newly found streams of income. It is important to realize that the potential for your space to get crowded online is very possible. If it hasn’t gotten busy already image if a handful of new competitors move into your space in the search engines and bump you out of the way?

Small Business Worries

It’s simple numbers, small businesses are at a financial disadvantage when it comes to marketing their website. Funds, time, or resources are needed to engage in marketing on a level they would need to be competitive. Small businesses often have to rely on do-it-yourself strategies built upon free advice gathered from blogs, forums, and social networking sites.

Every small business owner wants to ensure maximum ROI for their marketing efforts. But even with a good SEO and a good campaign outline, you can still break your budget–or render your SEO campaign ineffective–when you let your worries get the best of you. Worrying about smart things is smart. Worrying about the other stuff, well, that just sets you up for failure.

1) Perfection
SEO isn’t an exact science, there is no “do this to get this” formula. There are many trials and errors along the way and if you’re not prepared for that then you’ll likely spend too much of your time trying to perfect what can’t be perfected. There are many trade-offs made when optimizing a site. Ultimately you want to do what’s best for your visitors, while doing what’s best for the search engines. While Google likes to believe those are one in the same, the truth is that they are often two different things. The problem is when you want perfection on both, when you may need to settle for less than perfect on one front in order to get a perfect balance.

When it comes to both engines and visitor usability the paths to the perfect site is always changing because what would have been perfect yesterday is not perfect today. Settling for poor performance can be corrected, sometimes you have to accept what you have, get it out there and then move forward perfecting it later. By trying to make it perfect first, you’ll spend too much of your budget on that while and get no SEO improvement. Isn’t it better to start getting the benefit of the changes sooner, and perfect it later?

2) Worrying about being #1
Wouldn’t it be nice if getting #1 were easy (and cheap?). Unfortunately we don’t operate in a vacuum and there are many competitors out there. If you’re in a highly competitive industry, it’s not just your competitors that you’re up against. Informational sites such as Wikipedia, blogs and others can often dominate the top search engine rankings for your most profitable keywords. You need to accept that you may never outperform sites like Wikipedia, and you may never be able to outspend your competition. Settle on this and you can direct yours, and your SEO’s, efforts on things that will make a real difference in your optimization campaign. Once your site is optimized you can often get a better ROI by improving your visitor’s experience.

3) Worrying about competitors
Is your competitor climbing in the rankings? Are you worried that they will over take you? Are they outperforming you on some keywords? While disconcerting, you can’t expect your SEO to jump in and stop that from happening. Yes, you can invest in more SEO or links or social media… and maybe you should, but short of that, a site can only get so optimized for certain keywords.

The question here isn’t whether your SEO is doing their job or not. The real and only viable solution is to assess your campaign and make changes as needed. The problem with worrying about how your competitors are performing is that there is so much you don’t know. How much are they spending? Are they profitable? Are they focused on the right things? These questions are just a few you need to know before you decide what, precisely, is worth worrying about.

4) Traffic over conversions
Rankings get traffic, but why do we want traffic? Traffic alone is worthless unless it becomes a patron of your site; paying customer, signed up for a newsletter or news release etc. We often lose sight of that as optimization takes place. SEOs are paid to deliver traffic and are often happy to see traffic through to your site, even if the conversions do not follow.

While traffic is a required result of the SEO campaign, conversions should matter more. Before worrying about traffic changes, look first to see what your conversion rates are. If your SEO campaign results in more traffic but less sales, it’s time to look at content. As your traffic improves, your conversion rates need to be monitored. If you’re getting more sales, great. But if your conversion rate drops, then you need to focus on improving that before looking to improve traffic any further. Why bring more people to the site if fewer and fewer are going to convert?

5) Slow growth / instant success
SEO is a long-term investment that rarely, if ever, brings over night success. One of the most difficult expectations to overcome when pitching SEO services is the expectation that results will come fast. That being said, some sites can be optimized and see near immediate benefit. Other sites take longer to get optimized therefore the benefit in rankings takes longer. Newer sites have a much longer hill to climb before they see success. Before beginning an SEO campaign be sure that your expectations are in line with reality. Don’t look for a get-rich-quick solution, but instead be willing to invest in a long-term strategy that will pay off as you let it mature.

Small business budgets are tight and they have to make the most of every dollar. But sometimes trying to squeeze every bit of juice from a dollar ultimately squeezes the life out of it. Worrying too much about the performance of your SEO campaign can lead to jumping the gun on bad intel and making a seemingly bad situation worse. Give time for your SEO campaign to work before jumping in to make changes. It can be difficult if you are spending money and don’t see things going your way. There is risk in everything, including worrying about something that you shouldn’t. Worry less, and let your SEO campaign perform more.

The Value in SEO

Too many businesses large and small look at SEO (search engine optimization) as a nuisance and an additional expense, but since when is promoting your business online a nuisance and expense? Search engine optimization should be viewed as an investment. When you approach your online marketing strategy from just a rankings stand point it can be quite difficult to see the inherent value in SEO.

SEO is not just a load of technical jargon to get you on the first page of Google for a certain keyword or keyword phrase. If your business approaches it from that angle, the true value of SEO can be lost. By proactively marketing yourself online you create little footprints online connecting directly to your brand or business. If you follow all of your tracks, you will see they all funnel down to your website creating many little pathways to your website. The more tracks you make, the more opportunity for really becoming visible online in front of your target audience. The network does take time to build but once it is built a website will see a nice steady stream of traffic, qualified traffic if done correctly. SEO is an effort that takes time to really ramp up and work correctly. This is why it is important to realize that SEO, is an investment.

Building up a website online is no different than building up a brand or offline business. This process is where the investment is very important. The investment comes in many different shapes and sizes which also brings many different types of rewards. The rewards are not just search rankings which many think is the way to gauge if your online marketing campaign is really working. Rewards come in the potential customers reaching out to you on the various social networks and search engine results pages. Do you all of a sudden see a surge in websites sending you traffic? This did not happen by accident, this is a direct result of your online SEO efforts. Over time the traffic and rankings increase. This is why it is very important to realize that search engine optimization is a long term approach that truly requires patience and the ability to think outside the box.

Local domans vs Global domains

As a business owner, website owner, whether you’ve been online for a decade or are only stepping into the world wide market place; there’s an ever present question: to dot com or not to dot com? Lets take a look at some of the differences.

1. Clear geo-targeted name

To own a local domains, you actually need to go and buy them and register with a local authority. Because of this, local domains have always represented the best controlled and strictest identifier of a specific geography. There are exceptions of course, but these mostly have to do with certain domains, such as .tv (the tiny island state of Tuvalu) having found that their particular geography had a gold mine domain name it could use to generate revenue.

In other words, if the site was a French site, operating under a .fr domain, within hours of a search engine crawl, the site would show up in the area called “Pages de France” or pages from France—even if the site was actually hosted in the US.

2. Solid site architecture

The argument is often put forward that it’s too expensive to switch an existing dot com website with zillions of pages over to the relevant local domains its owners wish to target. It can, of course, be expensive to switch the domain used and this needs to be done with great care. However, when the cost of making the change is calculated, business will tend to find less financial value to the ongoing cost of SEO to compensate for not having the relevant local domain. This could mean additional local hosting costs or even substantial link building to overcome the disadvantages of the dot com. However, every businessman should have “going local” as an ultimate part of their long term plan.

3. People are inclined buy locally

Some SEOs may not see conversion factors as the most important in recommending which steps a client should take. Some users however, read URLs in the search engine results and that it can have a direct impact on how many of them click on links. Say you’re looking for a “second hand car” and you live in Canada. If you know nothing else about a website, which is most likely to be the most compelling: “secondhandcar.com” or “secondhandcar.ca?”

Even beyond the search results page, the local domain vs dot com plays in the mind of the user. “If this is a .ca and I live in Winnipeg, then they’re more likely to deliver” is a reasonable conclusion for most folks to draw.

SEO – Still the King

Everyone is a buzz about social media marketing. You can’t turn your head without hearing about it at a conference. Marketing professionals are either engaged today or thinking about how to engage tomorrow. Everyone is suddenly claiming expert status (you don’t need a social media expert, you just need a good marketer).

None of this is surprising. Social media doesn’t require knowledge of technology or staying on top of and technologies, at least not in the same way SEO does. In comparison social media is fairly easy to get right. You just need to know how to market to a connected society, have comprehension in sociology and learn the basics behind some pretty easy to use tools. Patience, helps too.

The truth, though, is social media is not new hasn’t really changed since the message board and forum culture of the late 90’s. There are just more people involved now. And we’re actually a bit nicer to each other. But it’s still just digital conversations. The tools have changed, but the way we interact digitally hasn’t – despite the glorification of certain platforms over others and the new found ability to be anti-social in public (or for some, more social) with the proliferation of mobile.

So here’s the truth: digital marketing hasn’t changed as much as some would have you believe. Search is still the number one source of traffic to web properties by a pretty good margin. Sure there’s some social traffic, but guess what – search still wins month over month, it’s far more consistent and it’s just better quality traffic.

And this brings us to the point: despite early adopters shifting habits and changing the way they use the web with the release of each new tool, doesn’t mean everyone does. Search is still the core function of those seeking content or information.

If you’re engaged in things like content marketing you should become more aware of SEO before social media. Social media and SEO do work together, but without having a search strategy locked down first, you’ll never fully benefit from the intersection. Neither happens in a vacuum.

Search engine optimization intertwines with social media and the engines will only continue to look at social signals more in the future as more users participate. Sites like Twitter won’t disrupt the web’s link graph, eventually it may make it even stronger. But your marketing, your media, your brand – by engaging social without comprehension of search means you’re yielding a higher conversion channel to competitors.

Local Search Myths

There are certain myths associated with local search that many businesses unfortunately, get wrapped up in. Bruce Clay, the President and CEO of Bruce Clay, Inc., explains why these theories are false

First of all, small businesses do not always realize that they are competing with businesses with large budgets. Small businesses naturally have small budgets, but they need to provide the same level of optimization as their competition in order to adequately compete.

Secondly, small businesses think that they only need to do local search optimization. Clay points out that, just because a business is small and local, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need to fix its entire website. He says:

“No matter what, the work is pretty much the same. No matter how you want to cut it, SEO is SEO.”

Small businesses still have to do technical work, build links, provide good and relevant content, and demonstrate that they are experts in their field. To help small businesses with their local efforts, the search engines offer many tools to assist them, such as maps.

At a local level, Clay says businesses need links from other people and businesses in their same region. In addition, the content should be specific and localized. However, if a business wants to rank internationally, then it needs to have links from other countries

SEO and Baking

Now, this may sound like a strange idea, but they two are actually much more alike than readily available. When it comes right down to it, baking is actually a very exact science. For perfect results, ingredients need to be measured, weighed, and added appropriately and at the right times. If you just take all of the ingredients for a cake, toss it in a bowl, stir and bake, chances are it’s not going to taste so good, and you’ll have to end up scrapping the whole effort. It would be a complete waste.

These exact same principles hold true when it comes to search engine optimization.

A cake has eggs, flour, sugar, butter, chocolate (yumm), some oil, and a few other here and there ingredients to make a yummy dessert. But we’ll go with the basics for now; flour, eggs, and sugar. If any of these are added in an incorrect amount, your cake will be terrible.

SEO, involves a great many details, keywords, content, coding practices, images, the list goes on and on. For the purposes of comparison, we’ll use keywords, content, and images. If any of these factors are handled improperly, or added/changed on your site incorrectly, your site will flop.

Just. like. the. cake.

When you’re looking for the perfect dessert for your party, you have it catered. You go to the professionals who you trust to bring you the results you deserve, and expect.

SEO, is no different than baking a cake it seems. Call us at Fresh, we’ll take care of your party for you.

SEO Benefits of Dedicated Servers?

It’s important to understand that there are no “direct” SEO benefits to hosting on a dedicated server. In other words, search engine spiders don’t check if your website is hosted on a dedicated server in order to give boosts or penalties based on what they find out.

There are quite a few indirect SEO benefits associated with dedicated servers though. First of all, you don’t have to worry about your website being in a “bad neighborhood”. The main problem with shared hosting is that a lot of websites, sometimes even thousands, end up being hosted on the same server/IP.

Unfortunately for the people who only employ legitimate approaches to search engine optimization, not everyone is willing to play fair. There are webmasters who are always on the lookout for the fast way to success and it’s safe to assume that out of hundreds or thousands of websites hosted on a certain server, the chances are that at least a handful may be “problematic” from that perspective. In other words, even if you do everything right, there’s a chance that you’ll have to pay for other people’s mistakes.

There’s also the issue of page loading and page refresh speed which needs to be taken into consideration. Algorithms are constantly changing, and some search engines take page load times into consideration; at least to a certain degree. It makes perfect sense if you stop for a moment and think about what search engines are meant to do. Search engines all want to display the best possible websites when someone searches for a certain term and fast page load times are important when it comes to the experience of your visitors. Of course, there are other factors which also are taken into consideration and most of them have more weight than page load times. But still, having an edge, however insignificant it may seem, is always a good thing, especially if you’re targeting terms which are extremely competitive.

But, the most important thing that dedicated servers put on the table is complete control. It’s your server and you can use it as you please. This means that you have more control over the software that you’re using and that you can tweak absolutely everything.

Banned from Google??

It’s the largest, most widely used search engine out there, you know it well, as it’s basically everywhere. Google. At this point in time, the holy grail for businesses either already existing online, or thinking of it, there is an incredible laundry list of items, to do, not to do, and in between all the white and black exists the grey.

I’m going to talk, just very briefly, about some of the black, or the methods which will (most likely) end up with your site BANNED FROM GOOGLE!

Redirecting to another domain:
Redirecting to another domain is not a 100% guarantee that you’ll be banned from search engines. But it is a very common spammer trick used in conjunction with doorway pages and cloaking. If you set up a redirect that goes to a new domain, you need to write it as a 301 redirect. This tells Googlebot that the redirect is permanent, and they should change the listing to the new domain.

Invisible or Single Pixel Images:
Invisible images are images that are 1×1 pixels in size and cannot be seen by the naked eye on a Web page. This is similar to hiding text or displaying different content to search engines than to your customers. And don’t assume that search engines can’t read CSS or HTML tags that resize full-sized images. If you do this to optimize your pages, your site will be banned.

Hidden or Invisible Text:
Hiding text by making it the same color as the background color may fool your customers, but it won’t fool search engines. Another variation of this is where you make the font size so small that it’s unreadable by the naked eye. Text that is hidden from your readers but visible to search engines is considered spam and will get your site banned.

Cloaking:
It can be very tempting to use cloaking, but while it might give you better results at first, search engines don’t like it. Search engines want to provide a resource of information that is real, not something that has been doctored to give artificial results. This is often called cloaking because it is an effort to hide, or cloak what your site delivers in something that might be seen as more palatable to search engines.

These are some of the basic black hat SEO techniques out there, all are easily noticed even by a person browsing the net, now that you know what to look for. Ideally of course, these factors are paramount to keeping in mind when choosing your SEO expert.

Internet Marketing Winnipeg Manitoba

Why spend dollars on TV, Print, and Radio if your company keywords are not also found on the first page of the search engines? If you’re not found, then you’ve advertised for your competition. We bring to market the most effective tools in generating cost-effective search engine results and we are committed to constant research and monitoring of the search engines’ algorithms so that our clients can act on them before their competitors.

An upgrade from your local Winnipeg Internet Marketing firm is Fresh Traffic. We serve clients around the world and deliver excellent performance. We can reach your target market more effectively because we have the experience and proven strategies. You can leverage our productive capabilities from optimized content, analytics, on-site optimization, viral marketing with video, and more.

The economy is a troubling factor however there are immense opportunities via the Internet. Search engine optimization in particular, when done well, can breathe new life into your sales volumes and help you maintain visibility with old and current customers.

It is a difficult challenge to dominate search results and be seen on the Internet. With our years of Internet marketing experience, we are the right choice of Winnipeg marketing companies. We work for several major marketing companies delivering the level of results they must have.

Internet Marketing is one of your most important aspects to having an effective website. We hear countless clients telling us that they have spent thousands of dollars on developing their website but they still cannot be seen online.

Internet Marketing is the piece of the puzzle that joins your development efforts with actual sales. At Fresh we closely follow and master the trends that are used by search engines to index and identify websites. This allows us to place our clients’ websites in the first page of search engines’ results and connect them to their target market.

We specialize in Internet Marketing in the forms of Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click advertising campaigns, E-Commerce, Web Analytics, and Web Market Research. These areas of Internet Marketing are complementary to each other and, with the right balance, can be very effective in helping you achieve your web goals and marketing targets

To learn more Contact us Today (1) 204.942.4200